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Friday, 31 January 2014

eight things i learnt in january

january is traditionally a time when we talk about the blues after all the celebrations of the previous month but can i tell you - my celebrating only calmed down around the 13th of the month and finally wrapped up on the 26th when the last rendezvous was attended. it has been great. and exhausting. i am again guilty of not paying as much attention to what i have learnt this month due to constant forward motion but here we go - eight things i've learnt in january.

1. tulips and anemones are amongst the only flowers to keep growing after they have been cut and put in a vase.

2apparently the rise in the taking of the selfie is due to our lack of recognising ourselves in photographs, given the choice of digitally altered photos of ourselves we would choose the one that is youngest and most attractive - helping to explain why people take a multitude of selfies until they get "the one" that suits their view.

3. no-one has ever received an oscar nomination for a voice only performance however the golden globes made an exception for robin williams, presenting him with a special achievement award for voicing the genie in aladdin.

4.  snakes can give you a venomous bite for up to an hour after they die; their bite reflex is the last one to leave them

5. a deficiency of zinc in your diet can cause premature greyness.

6. according to age uk there are more people in the uk aged 60 and over than there are 18 and under.

7. if you, like i, are a lover of wearing rings you might want to check out this 3 minute video of how to remove a stuck ring using only a piece of elastic and thus keeping your ring (and finger) intact - result!

8. ever think social networking doesn't work? think again. my favourite news story this month was #findmike. the story of jonny benjamin who 6 years ago was talked down from the edge of waterloo bridge over the river thames in london by a complete stranger. with the help of mental health charity rethink he lauched the campaign "find mike" (jonny couldn't remember the strangers name so dubbed him mike). with the help of the media and social networking sites such as facebook and twitter jonny #foundmike and yesterday the news emergered that not only had mike been found (mike's real name is neil laybourn) but that they had meet and jonny finally got to say the thank you he had waited six years to say. proof that social media truly can bring people together. read all about it here or watch this two minute video.

jonny (left) and neil (right)


Thursday, 30 January 2014

thankful thursday

this week i am thankful for one of my constants - friendship - for contact be it in person, phone, mail or photo message. for family that say "love you" at the end of every call, for time to be creative, for long shadows thrown by low lying sun, for the heady smell of hyacinths each time I open my lounge door, for laughter in the midst of hardship, for being reminded that light will always outshine darkness, that everything happens for a reason and for joy at seeing purpose unfold.


Monday, 27 January 2014


a monday like any other monday. but this monday seemed like the day the radio turned away from celebration music and greatest hits of last year and melody soared over the airwaves. not earth shattering and certainly there is comfort in the familiar sounds of these tracks but the change felt up-lifting today. enjoy.


Thursday, 23 January 2014

thankful thursday

this week i am thankful for miracles.  for a friend sitting in my living room ten days after having a stroke talking about how he felt someone was looking after him throughout; the more detail he retold of events, the more everyone agreed. i'm thankful regardless of good or bad circumstances in life, we are all looked after. (sometimes it takes the big bad stuff happening to make us realise the good small stuff that happens on a daily basis).


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

a monday bonus

this morning i woke before the alarm. even with this unusual event i managed to hit snooze numerous times before i got my weary bones out of bed. truly, i am not a morning person. racing around the bathroom and the bedroom in my usual routine of getting ready for work i managed to fire a quick email to a friend and scribble notes about ideas popping into my head before finally getting out the door and turning the key in my car ignition to start my journey to work. there the similarity with yesterday ends.

yesterday i was woken by the alarm, pressed the snooze button several (hundred) times and got out of bed at the latest possible moment, this resulted in a bathroom bedroom scene as today but no time to email friends and certainly no time for thinking up ideas. yesterday morning i managed to put crumpets in the toaster and eat them while running around looking for the scarf that wasn't where i thought i left it but once out the door i found my key fob barely opened the car door and once inside the car realised it wasn't the key fob but the car. a phone call was made. two hours later i started my journey to work.

yesterday i was gifted the unexpected gift of time. sure i put the kettle on, made tea, washed the dishes that were stacked there from sunday and cleared the kitchen but that is where the chores ended. yes i spent time outside with the lovely man who was dispatched to help me and yes i had a conversation with my elderly neighbour who i hadn't seen since she popped in for a sherry before christmas but i also grabbed half an hour to read, to think, to stare out of my window and dream. the routine couldn't be got to and while i waited for that certain time to come around again i slipped out of my work routine and into my rest routine. not until i got home from the shortened work day did i realise quite how much i needed that extra boost of time. the unexpected nature of it in a harried monday morning made it all the sweeter. it reminded me to do that more often - give myself permission to put time aside to think and dream - it's a lifeline that fleshes out purpose and gives life to decisions. and it reminded me -  sometimes it doesn't take as much time as you think.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

thankful thursday

this week i am thankful for social networking. a friends husband had a stroke while away on business in another part of europe. within hours she was on a plane racing to be at his side, within a further 24 hours a private space was set up on-line for family and friends to gain access to all up to date information and encourage both of them while they were stranded in a european hospital awaiting test outcomes and the all clear to travel to another hospital bed in the uk. i am thankful for mornings that are lighter earlier, nights that are darker later, sunshine that warms my face this winter and slowing down long enough to feel rested after weeks of celebrating.


Thursday, 9 January 2014

thankful thursday

thankful for a full holiday season that has left me exhausted but in no doubt i am loved. thankful for a car that keeps going, health that didn't fail over the festivities and friends and extended family that treat me as immediate family and keep inviting me into their homes. thankful to open my house up to others regardless of my being there or not and thankful that communication enables contact regardless of location. thankful for laughter as my youngest nephew thanked me for his birthday present by putting his mouth on mine and exclaiming mwah


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Last year, new year

So, it's the 8 January and I'm only just getting round to reflect on 2013, what does that say?

I could write a whole piece on being too busy, no time for reflection etc, but really that's all excuses. The fact was that the end of the year just hurtled by, it seemed to happen on the fast forward button, and I've been left standing in the station of the new year waiting to board the train.

So what of 2013? It was the year in which I tried to learn not to hold on to tight to things, and reminded myself how to shake off responsibility and play. I read about how I did not have to be a good girl and perfect at everything (thank you Emily Freeman) This included fizz on a beach (on several occasions) pimms at the school fair and on a beach (before you start to think me learning how to play equals drinking alcohol, I can promise it was more than that) of getting my nails done, buying make up, going rowing on a Friday night with Em,BBQs and fireworks on a beach, starting piano lessons and most importantly stopping, playing games and reading on a Sunday to restore my soul.

However, there were also many times of feeling overwhelmed, tiredness to the point where I could not face anymore, of not putting in boundaries, and of flicking on a screen too much and sinking into the pool of never ending emails.

In summary 2013 was a year of opposites, of stepping out of my comfort zone and through that learning more, but also still not getting the daily balance right. In 2013 I also started running again. It's amazing what you can do if you set your mind to it and have a friend to run with. Saturday morning used to equal lie ins, this year I've got up and gone for a run, not far but it's a start. The thing about running is it's a bit of a pychological battle, sometimes the route is effortless and I feel like I could run forever, other times the same route can seem never ending and I wonder if I will make it round.

It always makes me think about how I approach my days, mental attitude can make such a difference. When Em and I started the blog we decided to call it 'whataredaysfor ' to help us reflect both on what we'd done, but also look for those small important gifts that can make such a difference to your day.

So what of 2014 ? Well I want my days to count, and to make the most of each day, knowing that some will be more of a battle than an other, but we get each day only once. Days are for making the most of what you have. In thinking about my one word for 2014 I'm going for hope, as I want to know more of what it means to have that in the core of my being, each day.

As we all try and get to grips and board that new year train I'm leaving you with a picture from one of my favourite places, and reminding myself again that it's always good to look up, not hold on tight and knowing that God has it all in hand already.


Monday, 6 January 2014

new year meanderings

today i found myself back at work after two and a half weeks off wondering where on earth did the time go? having only arrived home yesterday getting up for work today was a shock to the system - understatement of the year so far. decorations are still up, presents have yet to find homes, washing is needing to be done and the fridge is devoid of food but still work needed to be got to. 

a couple of months ago my diary got busy very quickly. before i knew it i had something booked in every week for almost two months and that was just the beginning. the nearer i got to christmas the more dates got booked up and i am speaking as someone who still has christmas celebrations to look forward to. the constant motion has given me very little time to think about the year past or the new one upon us. i know i am not alone in this; jane exclaimed the exact same notion once we hit new years day.

i realised while talking with jane that i haven't given new year resolutions one thought, not one and that thought has nagged at me. is that a good thing or a bad thing? how do i feel about resolutions anyway? way too much potential to fall at the first hurdle or are setting goals for the year to come a good thing? needless to say - time - lack of - no thought.

until today - fleetingly.

still sat in my coat in an office that had been devoid of heating for two weeks, nursing the constant sneezing of a threatening cold, cupping a mug of hot tea while eating my sandwich at lunchtime i typed these four things:




each day is a gift

no thought was put into these. in fact after i typed them i closed down my post and flicked up facebook. around five minutes later i typed these:


love not fear

while i was talking with jane i told her i hadn't thought about new years resolutions because in the summer i had thought stuff through and changed a few things up. i resolved to trust that god had a bigger plan for me than i could imagine, that my dreams were ones that i was willing to be open handed with, that choosing to be happy involves letting go of anger, hurt, heartache and uncertainty and when you do that you realise that thankfulness flows easily and that each day is a gift regardless of if it looks how you imagined it would or not. i'm nowhere near where i thought i would be, my dream is a long way off and perhaps that thought was what prompted me to go back and type the next two things - perhaps those are my new years resolutions - reminding myself again to keep on going and always choose love over fear. i've lived with fear for too long - if you want to shake it off you need to be intentional about it.

so perhaps new year is a good time to make resolutions or perhaps new year is a good time to remind yourself how far you have come and to keep going. whichever you choose i wish you a happy, loving and fulfilling 2014.